A study coauthored by Taiwanese economist Lin Ming-jen (林明仁) that examines long-term care needs and women in the workplace has won this year’s APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Research Prize.
The winner was announced during a virtual Women and the Economy Forum on Friday last week.
The study, titled “How Much Do Long-Term Care Needs Affect Female Labor Supply?”, has yet to be formally published, Lin told the Taipei Times by telephone yesterday.
Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Science and Technology
The researchers used regression analysis and event study methods to analyze government data from 2008 to 2019 on taxes, labor insurance, disability insurance and foreign caregiver applications, he said.
Married daughters are 15 percent less likely to participate in the labor market than married sons when parents have long-term care needs, Lin said.
Daughters, not sons, are typically the major caregivers for sick or aging parents, he said, adding that this is the perpetuation of a common stereotype in Asian countries, where men are thought to be superior to women.
To care for a sick parent, many women leave the workplace or choose a less challenging job, and they usually have difficulty returning to the workplace, even after the parent dies and their caregiving responsibilities are finished, Lin said.
Men and women aged 25 to 30 have similar workforce participation rates, but the gap widens after age 30, the research showed.
The study was commissioned in late 2019 by the Executive Yuan’s Department of Gender Equality, Lin said, expressing the hope that it would lead to an evidence-based evaluation of labor policy in Taiwan.
In January last year, Lin left his post as a professor in National Taiwan University’s Department of Economics to begin a three-year term as director-general of the Ministry of Science and Technology’s Department of Humanities and Social Sciences.
The study’s other authors were Lin’s students. Chen Kuan-ming (陳冠銘) is a post-doctoral fellow at the US’ National Bureau of Economic Research and Hsiang Chen-wei (項振緯) is a doctoral student at University College London.
“Unpaid care work, which disproportionately falls on women’s shoulders, is vital for societies to function,” Renee Graham, chair of APEC’s Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy, said in the news release announcing the winning study yesterday.
“If we are to build back better and build back more inclusively, we must find ways to support the women who perform the majority of this labor — often without recognition or full appreciation for the important work they are doing,” she said.
The research prize winner was awarded US$20,000, while the two runners-up — from China and Singapore — received US$5,000 each, APEC said.
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